The State Bank of Pakistan issued a notification on Thursday to change banking hours due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the country. According to SBP the working hours were cut short on the government’s directives. “In line with the decision of National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) to contain the spread of COVID-19, the State Bank of Pakistan will observe the following office hours, which will also be followed by all banks / DFIs / MFBs till further orders,” the SBP notification read. The new timings will be 9 am to 2 pm Monday to Thursday whereas the banks will close at 1 pm on Friday due to Friday prayers. The banks are advised to keep the public dealing hours till 1 pm from Monday to Thursday. It must be noted that Pakistan, yesterday, witnessed the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus since the inception of the pandemic. A total of 201 new deaths were recorded, bringing the country’s overall death toll from the virus to 17,530, according to the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which oversees the government’s pandemic response. The previous highest daily death count was 157 recorded on April 23.